Guest Post by my daughter Nancy Kehr
Look at Ugree Man, Momeee!
Shopping at the Bakery Outlet store once a month was great fun for me, and for my small son, Aaron! I am not sure exactly why he’d get so happy once I plunked him into a cart, and began wheeling throughout the store, but he did! His little legs kicked in delight when we came to the hostess cupcakes. Although we rarely got many of those snacks, he had a good memory!
Aaron was an observer and didn’t garble like a lot of small children. He was bright and could talk from an early age, demonstrating an excellent, understandable vocabulary by 18 months.
Cupcakes! His smile brightened as I put one package in the cart. He giggled and squiggled happily as more bread and treats were placed in the cart.
Then, the little smile turned to a look of horror! He became dead still, and pointing, squealed loudly,
“Lookee, ugree man, momeeee!”
My heart sped up and I felt the heat creeping to my face. Even though I wanted to, I didn’t dare to look around. Before I could even think, my son immediately repeated himself even more loudly!!
I grabbed his little arm and pushed his finger down, admonishing him to be quiet! As I did, a man passed by with his cart. A horribly blotchy, raised birthmark covered half of his face like some eerie, ill-fitting mask.
Aaron’s eyes were wide open in amazement … and again, with the pointing! I grabbed him.
“Choc-cat,” he yelled, “He gots choc-cat on face!”
My stomach churned. Where was that door, anyway? I felt like running!
I couldn’t look at this poor fellow! I just pretended to tend to my child. I was busy trying to stuff a Twinkie into his mouth so he couldn’t SAY anything more.
The man started to laugh! He said a couple of things which I’m sure were conciliatory, but I was still too caught up in myself to process what was being said.
While I’m not so sure his words actually helped ME at the moment, I experienced modest relief. I was able to get through the checkout stand, albeit my cheeks were still burning.
Pondering this later, I wish I had been able to say something clever to the gentleman. Instead, all I was thinking about was me and how embarrassed I was.
What about him? I am sure he faced numerous unkind-nesses all throughout his whole life. Evidentially he had learned to be resilient, and appeared to have become settled in himself. All things aside, he seemed to be sorry for me at the time, his gracious behavior revealing a handsome inner person!
Hmmm. And….… he had a pretty wife. I remember her smile.
These thoughts rushed over me recently when, in church, I noticed a man with a large purple birthmark covering nearly half of his face. He and his beautiful wife walked into the restaurant where we were with our kids after church. They seemed to recognize us.
We smiled and nodded at them. I asked God to bless Him….and, to bless that other man if he was still around.
Nothing and no one is perfect!
Graciousness, kindness, sympathy, compassion, thoughtfulness, consideration, understanding toward others; these entire can go a long way in ameliorating the hustle-and-bustle of life!
Your story could be told by any number of moms. When I was a little girl, about three I bet, I was with my mom in a grocery store in Massachusetts. A really dark skinned African American man was on the same aisle. Very loudly, I said, "Mom, look at that blaaaaack man." All he did was chuckle, but my mom wanted to be swallowed in a hole. My kids have done similar things. Neither of us spent much time thinking of the object of our children's outbursts, only our own feelings of embarrassment. Thanks for this gentle reminder of where we should have our hearts.
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